“It’s a quiet crisis,” New York Daily News reporters Ginger Otis and Barry Paddock write in this in-depth exploration of hunger in New York. “In a city of plenty,” they continue in this front page story posted Sunday in the New York Daily News, “a staggering number of people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.”
Learn what they find out when they interview experts including Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, visit Catholic Charities food pantries and meet those we serve:
“Nearly one in five New Yorkers, 1.4 million people, now rely on a patchwork network of 1,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the city to eat.
That represents an increase of 200,000 people in five years — straining the charities that are trying to help…
Yet those working on the front lines of the hunger crisis say it’s still not enough.
‘It’s an astounding surge in need, and it’s because it is so hard for people to find jobs, or find a decent-paying job. They are turning to us for emergency help,’ said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, 63, executive director of 90 free food outlets run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
‘So many people, too many people, don’t have enough money to pay for rent and also eat.’
At (Catholic Charities’) Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry, bags packed with milk, juice, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, dry beans and other staples fly off the shelves.
Located in a small church vestry, the pantry is open one day a week, serving a steady clientele of 275 people. It could easily help three times as many, if only it had the food, volunteers said.
From soup kitchens in the Bronx, to mobile food markets on Staten Island and in Brooklyn, to pantries in Queens, the story is the same: lines stretching longer and longer, people arriving earlier and earlier, even in the depths of winter.
‘Our Lady of Grace, in the northeast Bronx, saw the number of new households double in November — a 100% increase,’ said Paul Costiglio, spokesman for Catholic Charities. “Across the board, our programs are reporting a continued increase in the number of working people, unemployed and families.”
Too many New Yorkers, too many good hard-working people, too many children, too many elderly parents, lack the resources to put food on the table.
Too many cannot afford basic nutrition — bread, milk, a piece of fruit, a portion of vegetables, a slice of meat. The stuff of survival, not the stuff of fun or frivolity…
These are our neighbors, family members and friends.
This is not New York, city of limitless opportunity. This is a New York that must do better.